Archive for the ‘church planting’ Category

Church, prayer hall, prayer conducted at a house etc and the attack of such places: Secularism and communalism behind! (1)

March 15, 2018

Church, prayer hall, prayer conducted at a house etc and the attack of such places: Secularism and communalism behind! (1)

Madurai church attack - Miscreants vandalize church

Pentecostal Church attacked in Madurai 11-03-2018: The incident happened around 9.30 am when priest Ravi Jacob was taking part in a prayer session. “A gang of 50 men led by a religious outfit leader”, protected by a gunman, entered the church and started attacking M. Ravi Jacob[1]. A prayer home of a Pentecostal church in Sikkandar Chavadi here was vandalized and copies of the Bible were burnt, allegedly by members of a “Hindu right wing group”on Sunday 11-03-2018[2]. Another report says, “Some members, reportedly of the same group”, later went to three other prayer homes belonging to Pentecostal church in nearby areas and verbally abused the pastors and worshippers and threatened to attack the homes if they were not shut in a week[3]. Jacob, the pastor at the Sikkandar Chavadi prayer home, which is a branch of Rhema Church, said more than 10 people, including a person who had an armed policeman as his Personal Security Officer (PSO), came to the prayer home in the morning[4]. “I, my wife, two children and a few others who had come for the prayer were there. The men used abusive language and roughed up me and my wife,” he said. He alleged that they later took out copies of the Bible present at the home, along with his mobile phone and a few other belongings, and burnt them in the street[5].

Madurai church attack - Right wing vandalize -The Hindu

Christians accused “Hindu Munnani” for attack: Corroborating his allegations, the family who owned the place, which is a small tile-roofed structure in a narrow lane, said the pastor had rented the place a couple of months ago and visited it on Sundays for prayer meetings. Jerome Jegatheesan, pastor of ‘Bethesda Varthaiyin Jeba Veedu’ prayer home in Koodal Pudur, said a group of people visited the home a couple of hours after the incident at Sikkandar Chavadi. “They abused us in filthy language and asked us to stop our activities,” he said. Sasi Sugathiya, a pastor with Living God Church, said two other prayer homes in Koodal Puthur area were also threatened on Sunday. The video of the group threatening one of the prayer homes was uploaded on Facebook by a person claiming to be a Hindu Munnani member. However, there is Christian  material and burning them, but, there was no commotion, as everything was going on the road and the event was evidently recorded ny many [6]. It is appears strange, as the attacker himself to present evidence to the public to prove that he attacked or involved in such act. This is similar to earlier NDTV propaganda about the Gujarat riots where, the Hindutwa group heads were depicted as “claiming themselves with pride that they indulged in such violence.”

Police version of the attack: N. Manivannan, Madurai Superintendent of Police, said a case had been registered based on Ravi Jacob’s complaint against 10 unidentified Hindu Munnani cadre. He, said, “We have identified three persons involved in the incident. However, we are yet to arrest any of them.” On the presence of a PSO, he said the police were yet to confirm that. “If a PSO was present, it will make the identification of the accused easy,” he added. Stressing that there were no attacks on the other three prayer homes, Madurai City Commissioner of Police Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal said the group appeared to have threatened the pastors to close the homes by claiming that they did not have permission. “We have registered cases and appropriate action will be taken swiftly,” he said.  However, it can be noted that politicians like Vaiko accused police that they have registered a case against the “unidentified” persons. Therefore, it is evident that the issue of “illegal churches” has been converted into “secular” and “communal” one.

Madurai church attack - Notices to illegal prayer halls- TOI

30 prayer halls in Tamil Nadu receive notice, HC stays closure of one (October 2017)[7]: District authorities have issued show-cause notice to about 30 Christian prayer halls in Coimbatore district alone, threatening to close them down for conducting prayers without prior permission. But, the Madras high court came to the rescue of one such hall, when it stayed a notice issued by a jurisdictional tahsildar to a Sulur-based prayer hall. Concurring with the submissions of P Wilson, senior counsel for the prayer hall, Justice K Ravichandrabaabu said: “The court is of the prima facie view that the petitioner is entitled to an interim relief of stay for a period of four weeks subject to the condition that under the guise of conducting prayers the petitioner shall not cause any nuisance by way to the public.” The judge then ordered notice to the tahsildar concerned and district collector returnable by four weeks. Though Selvasingh Samuel, 37, who is pastor of a prayer hall at Sultanpet in Sulur taluk in Coimbatore district, won the relief for his prayer hall, the pattern as per which the notices were slapped on similar prayer halls in the region is unmistakable. Some of the notices were identical and referred to complaints and apprehension of public order disturbances in the regions concerned. They also raised the bogey of prayer being conducted without prior permission from authorities[8].

Permission given for the construction of a residential house and not for any jamath/prayer hall/madrasa (November 2017): The activists said the complaint was a ploy so that some organisations could continue their “illegal conversions”. Police said they had received complaints from the public that some prayer homes were being running illegally and demanding that these be closed[9]. Incidentally, the Courts have delivered judgments in recent years about the construction of prayer halls, usage of house for conducting prayer etc. In one case, the judge said it has been categorically stated in the stop-work notice that the planning permission was obtained for the construction of a residential house and not for any jamath/prayer hall/madrasa[10]. When there was a specific plan accorded for construction of a residential house, the petitioners cannot deviate and hence the panchayat was right in issuing the stop-work notice and thereafter passing the impugned order of cancellation of planning approval. Proceeding with construction and claiming investment of huge amount on the same cannot be a ground to permit the construction of superstructure to stand there, the judge added[11]. Therefore, if anyone follows the secular rationale of the cases, it has to be applicable to all. However, the secular and Dravidian politicians have taken different stand of accusing the right wing group for the attack.

Complaints from the public that some prayer homes were being running illegally and demanding that these be closed (March 2018): Police said they had received complaints from the public that some prayer homes were being running illegally and demanding that these be closed[12]. This was not a law and order problem, but denial of right to worship and destruction of secularism, the Constitution and democracy, Council president Anthony Pappusamy said in a statement[13]. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Latin Bishops’ Council had condemned the attacks and said it was an effort to “chase away” Christians who had a fundamental right to worship. This was not a law and order problem, but denial of right to worship and destruction of secularism, the Constitution and democracy, Council president Anthony Pappusamy said in a statement[14]. A clip of the group reportedly threatening the persons has gone viral. A case was registered yesterday against 10 Hindu Munnani activists, of whom three have been identified. They said some of the activists, during initial questioning, denied that they had attacked the homes and had only staged protests against persons being allegedly lured for conversion. The activists said the complaint was a ploy so that some organisations could continue their “illegal conversions”. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Latin Bishops Council had condemned the attacks and said it was an effort to “chase away” Christians who had a fundamental right to worship.

© Vedaprakash

14-03-2018

[1] https://www.dtnext.in/News/TamilNadu/2018/03/12010044/1064765/Miscreants-vandalise-church-in-Madurai.vpf

[2] The Hindu, Hindu right wing group vandalises prayer home, Pon Vasanth B.A. MADURAI, MARCH 11, 2018 22:09 IST; UPDATED: MARCH 13, 2018 00:03 IST

[3] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/hindu-right-wing-group-vandalises-prayer-home-madurai/article23041946.ece

[4] DNA India, Prayer homes of Pentecostal church attacked in Madurai, Published: Mar 14,2018, 01:30 AM

[5] http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-prayer-homes-of-pentecostal-church-attacked-in-madurai-2593779

[6] Angeline 11 Media works, , Published on Mar 12, 2018; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWgOblb8fuQ

[7] Times of India, 30 prayer halls in Tamil Nadu receive notice, HC stays closure of one, Suresh Kumar | TNN | Oct 24, 2017, 06:39 IST

[8] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/30-prayer-halls-in-tamil-nadu-receive-notice-hc-stays-closure-of-one/articleshow/61193950.cms

[9] Deccan chronicle, Hindu right wing group attacks prayer homes of Madurai’s Pentecostal church, PTI, Published Mar 14, 2018, 1:19 pm IST; Updated Mar 14, 2018, 1:19 pm IST.

[10] DECCAN CHRONICLE, Demolish construction designed to offer namaz: Madras High Court, Published Nov 26, 2017, 1:45 am ISTUpdated Nov 26, 2017, 1:45 am IST

[11] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/261117/demolish-construction-designed-to-offer-namaz-madras-high-court.html

[12] India today, Prayer homes of Pentecostal church attacked in Madurai, PTI, March 14, 2018UPDATED 12:15 IST (Eds: Recasting overnight story)

[13] https://www.indiatoday.in/pti-feed/story/prayer-homes-of-pentecostal-church-attacked-in-madurai-1189173-2018-03-14

[14] http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/140318/madurai-pentecostal-church-attack-hindu-right-wing-group-bible-copies.html

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Ezra Sargunam, Church planting, land grabbing, politics and communalization under the guise of secularization!

November 14, 2017

Ezra Sargunam, Church planting, land grabbing, politics and communalization under the guise of secularization!

ECI for church planting

The controversial Christian priest Ezra Shargunam and his land grabbing activities: In September 2017, when there was rumour about M. Karunanidhi, Ezra Sargunam gave interview to the media and certified that[1], “I met Karunanidhi, he is doing well….He looked at me……” It was surprise for many, as why a Christian priest should have done it, particularly, when Karunanidhi has been an atheist. Of course, Ezra’s role in political circles is considered as “broking”.  While Vaiko is criticized recently [this month, November 2017] for his “Christian” leanings and “crypto-Christian” activities, ironically, he himself dubbed Ezra Sargunam as “false-prophet” citing Bible[2]. He warned that people like him are tigers roaming with sheep’s skin. Thus, the role of Ezra has been intriguing on many accounts. Earlier in his book, he has openly recorded that there is nothing wrong in land grabbing[3]. That is whatever is done in the name of Jesus, it is allowed. Again, there have been court cases, involving him with land grabbing. In this context, what had happened 17 years ago in Gujarat, becomes important in the context.  Interestingly, the same Ezra Sargunam played a crucial role there. He was reportedly involved in a land grabbing case, where he tried to interfere and created “law and order problem.” As he had gone there as “the chairman of the Tamil Nadu Minority Commission,” the state authoties pointed out that he was out of jurisdiction and hence they could take action to arrest him for violations. Thus, he prepared to move bail to save his honour. The Gujarat Government also complained to the Government of Tamilnadu.

Ezra politics

Karunanidhi asked Ezra Sargunam to return, as he exceeded limits: The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi, has asked the president of the Evangelical Society of India and chairman of the Tamil Nadu Minority Commission, Bishop Ezra Sargunam, to leave Gujarat and return home immediately, according to the Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Mr. Haren Pandya, here today [06-12-2000][4]. Mr. Pandya showed reporters a copy of the fax message sent by Mr. Karunanidhi to his Gujarat counterpart, Mr. Keshubhai Patel, urging the Bishop in Vyara hospital in Surat district, to return home[5]. The message also assured the Bishop that the issue of alleged attack on a church in Chhindia village of Vyara taluka, against which he launched an indefinite fast, could be taken up with an “appropriate authority” later. The Bishop was forcibly admitted to the Vyara Civil Hospital yesterday [05-12-2000] after his condition deteriorated.

Bishop Sundar Singh was commissioned as the new presiding Bishop of ECI.

Ezra was trying to instigate local Christians: The message, Mr. Pandya said, was in response to a request sent by the State Government pointing out that the Bishop was “trying to instigate” Christians in Chhindia village and creating a “law and order problem”. The Tamil Nadu Government was also informed that the chairman of its Minority Commission had “no jurisdiction” over Gujarat and had adopted a stance of non- cooperation with the authorities. Virtually blaming the Christians for the dispute over the church in the village, Mr. Pandya said the Government would take “stern action” against anyone found “instigating” people. It was a “deliberate scheme” of the Christians to “defame the BJP government in the State”, he claimed.

Bishop refused to leave causes unrest, The Tribune, 09-12-2000

Christian plot to grab the land of a tribal: Denying knowledge of the involvement of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the incident of November 26 as alleged by the All-India Christian Council, the Minister said the land on which the “so- called church” was functioning actually belonged to Mr. Puniyabhai Ukadiabhai Kotwalia, a local tribal. Mr. Puniyabhai, who became a Christian some time ago, recently re-converted to Hinduism. On November 29, the Christian Council lodged a complaint with the Vyara police stating that a group of VHP activists “attacked the church” in Chhindia village on November 26 and “desecrated it”. Mr. Puniayabhai, meanwhile, accused Christian leaders of “forcibly entering” the “premises owned by him” and taking away the picture of a Hindu deity.

Karu asked Ezra Sargunam to return to TN, Dec.07, 2000 - The Hindu

Conversion trick to create communal tension: While the Council spokesman, Mr. Samson Christian, said the piece of land was jointly owned by seven persons who together handed it over to the local Christian community for building a church in 1996, Mr. Pandya claimed that according to government records, Mr. Puniyabhai was sole owner of the land and inherited it from his father. The “church” was actually a room in his residence which he had “allowed local Christians to use as a prayer hall,” Mr. Pandya said. Mr. Christian had accused the local police of working hand-in- glove with the VHP in attacking the church in the presence of senior government officials including the District Collector and the District Superintendent of Police. Mr. Pandya said the Revenue Department gave Mr. Puniyabhai ownership of the land in June, 1992, as he was cultivating it since 1975. Under the Tenancy Act, he had no authority to sell or re-allocate it to anyone else without the prior permission of the Government and there was no question of his giving the land for construction of a church. But after Mr. Puniyabhai became a Christian in 1995, one of the rooms was used by local Christians as a prayer hall. He re-converted to Hinduism six months ago and since then has refused permission for the room to be used as a church.

Bail granted to Ezra Sargunam, Dec.15, 2000 - The Hindu

Land grabbing Ezra’s style carried on in Gujarat: Contrary to Mr. Samson Christian’s claims, Mr. Pandya said a group of Christians forcibly entered the room on November 26 and removed the picture of a Hindu deity. On a complaint filed by Mr. Puniyabhai, the Vyara civil court issued a stay on December 1 against the use of the land by either sides and fixed the hearing on December 12. The issue could have been resolved earlier but for the adjournment sought twice on November 30 and December 4 by the local Christians on its hearing, Mr. Pandya claimed. He alleged that Bishop Sargunam went on an indefinite fast only after the civil court granted the stay. The Christian Council also filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court against the stay granted by the Vyara civil court. Mr. Pandya also refuted the Council’s claim that 200 Christians had migrated from the village after November 26. The Vyara social justice committee chairman along with some other officials visited the village and found that all the people were staying in their respective houses, he said. No migration had taken place as claimed by Mr. Christian, he stated and pointed out that in the village with a population of 1,500, over 75 per cent were Hindus and the rest Christians.

Ezra politics- stalin dravida-church alliance

Local Court granted bail for Ezra, thus escaped from arrest[6]: The Vyara civil court today [14-12-2000] granted anticipatory bail to Bishop Ezra Sargunam, the national president of the Evangelical Church of India, but refused him permission to enter any place within its jurisdiction, which include Chhindia village in south Gujarat, where a church of his denomination was allegedly attacked on November 26, 2000. The Bishop, who is also the chairman of the Tamil Nadu Minority Commission, had filed the anticipatory bail following a criminal complaint filed against him and a few others by the “owner” of the piece of land on which the church stood, Mr. Punyabhai Kotwalia, for allegedly “trespassing” on his property[7]. The Bishop had launched an indefinite fast in front of the church on November 29 demanding restoration of the church, which the Christians claimed was desecrated during the attack and converted into a temple. The Vyara civil court, while granting a stay on December 1 on Mr Punyabhai’s petition that the land was his “personal property,” had also directed the Bishop to stay away from Vyara taluka. The Bishop, who is still here meeting with other Christian leaders, had made it clear that he would take a decision on the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi’s message to return to Chennai only “in consultation with the leaders of the secular forces.”

Ezra politics-land grabbing--church alliance-atheism

Ezra indulged in objectionable activities: The Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Mr. Haren Pandya, when asked about the Vyara civil court’s order, said the State Government would ensure that the court order was “strictly implemented” hinting that it would not hesitate to arrest the Bishop if he made any attempt to return to Vyara or Chhindia. The State Home Secretary, Dr V. V. Rama Subba Rao, has written to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, informing him about the “objectionable activities” of the Bishop in the State. Like the Chief Minister, Mr. Keshubhai Patel, who wrote to his Tamil Nadu counterpart twice requesting him to recall the Bishop, Dr. Subba Rao has also requested the Chief Secretary to take immediate steps to ensure that the Bishop stopped “interfering” with the law and order situation in the State[8]. In fact, his refusal to leave, created tension in the area[9]. Meanwhile, the State Government has decided to make elaborate security arrangements in the south Gujarat districts to ensure peace during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. At a meeting of the district collectors and district superintendents of police of Surat, Bulsar, Navsari and Dangs districts convened here today by Mr. Pandya and Dr. Subba Rao, it was decided to deploy adequate number of state reserve police and anti-riot Rapid Action Force personnel in the four districts to assist the local police and home guards to maintain peace during the celebrations.

Ezra politics- Vijaya kanth

PTI reports from Surat: The sessions court today banned the entry of Bishops Ezra Sargunam and Fr. Raive Ishudas of Chennai into the Vyara sub- division, without the written permission from the court. According to the conditions imposed by the court on the Bishops, the orders would be applicable till the chargesheet was filed against them. The court allowed anticipatory bail applications by the Bishops and dismissed the criminal application filed by Shankarbhai Gamit of Vyara. The Vyara police was directed to enlarge the two Bishops on bail on their furnishing a solvent surity of Rs. 5000 with a personal bond for the like sum each in the event of their arrest in an offence registered by the Vyara police station.  The same news was also reproduced by the Catholic news agency it its own way[10]. “An Indian court has banned a Protestant bishop from entering the area of a disputed chapel in a ruling the bishop says was politically motivated to harass Christians….. Bishop Sargunam, vice chairman of the Minorities Commission of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, said he left Gujarat after state authorities refused to meet him…….. The Protestant bishop told UCA News that he had to leave the area because of the state government´s partisan approach toward Christians. Anti-Christian attacks in Gujarat are “State-sponsored vandalism,” he said. More than 100 attacks against Christians have been reported in Gujarat in the last two years.” Thus, the persecution myth went on in their own way[11].

© Vedaprakash

14-11-2017

Ezra politics- stalin dravida-church alliance-atheism

[1] http://www.tamil8.com/watch.php?vid=f5e16b702

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a08ptEvj1dQ

[3] M. Ezra Sargunam, Multiplying Churches in India: An Experiment in Madras, Federation of Evangelical Churches of India, 1974, Madras, pp141-142.

https://christianityindia.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/nothing-illegal-in-encroaching-land-for-church/

[4] The Hindu, Karunanidhi asks T.N. Bishop in Gujarat to return, By Manas Dasgupta, Thursday, December 07, 2000.

[5] http://www.thehindu.com/2000/12/07/stories/0207000l.htm

[6] The Hindu, Bail granted to Bishop, By Manas Dasgupta, Friday, December 15, 2000

[7] http://www.thehindu.com/2000/12/15/stories/02150005.htm

[8] The Tribune, Bishop’s refusal to leave causes unrest, December 9, 2000.

[9] http://www.tribuneindia.com/2000/20001210/nation.htm – 8

[10] UCAnews, Protestant bishop leaves after Hindu state head refuses to meet, December 15, 2000.

[11] https://www.ucanews.com/story-archive/?post_name=/2000/12/15/protestant-bishop-leaves-after-hindu-state-head-refuses-to-meet&post_id=17391